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Staff could get employment rights on ‘day one’

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Employees around the country could be granted flexible employment rights, such as carer’s leave, on their first day of employment under new government proposals announced this week.

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Yvette Cooper, has revealed that the government is discussing giving employees the right to flexible working “from the beginning” of a new job following pleas from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Current rules on flexible working requests are limited to those with parental responsibility of children under 16, 18 if disabled, but Ms Cooper believes that all employees should be considered.

Speaking to the Guardian, she said: “You want people to offer flexible working from the beginning and we need to look again at how the legislation can support different ways of doing that.
“A lot of employers have found that offering the right to request flexible working more widely actually helped them in their business, and they’ve been willing to look at it for employees in all circumstances.”

Although not practical for all professions, Ms Cooper feels a “cultural change for everybody” is needed, but employers have argued that new workers need to understand the nature of their employment before making such demands.

David Yeandle, Head of Employment Policy at manufacturers group EEF, believes employees need to earn the trust of their bosses before handing in potentially disruptive requests.

“This clearly requires employees to have some knowledge and understanding of their employer’s business and operational arrangements, which they will only be able to have after having worked for their employer for a reasonable period, and we feel that the minimum period for this is 26 weeks,” said Mr Yeandle.

The results of the government’s discussions, which also rely on input from current employers, are expected in the near future.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn, New Law

Tagged with , , ,

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